So the weirdest thing happened to me the other day. I was prepping my gear, about to head off to shoot a wedding. This guy calls me and introduces himself as a sheriff in my county, saying that I missed my jury summons. He knew all of my information (my name, address, phone number…etc) I’m like “oh shoot I didn’t know I had one” and he says “yeah a lot of people missed, which is why we think the mail lost them”. So he goes on for a while about how they should be sending them out via registered mail instead of regular mail. Finally he says “okay so I’ll need you to come down to the station and sign something swearing you didn’t receive your summons. I’m also going to prepare a complaint on your behalf stating that you’d prefer the summons go out via registered mail, so this wouldn’t happen again”. I’m like “okay that’s not too difficult”. He seemed to want me to come out immediately, but when I told him I’d rather go the next day, he didn’t seem upset. We set up an appointment the following morning before he says “call me at this number before you leave so I can expect you, and I’ll escort you through the building”.
So I look up the address he gave me and it was legitimately the address the sheriff’s office. But something felt off. He repeated himself quite a bit, and it was weird that he wanted me to call before hand. Like if we set up and appointment, why should I have to call when I’m on my way? Why does that matter?
So I head out to my wedding, but it’s an hour’s drive away so I decide it would be good to call the sheriff’s office myself and confirm everything. I don’t get through to the sheriff’s office, but I got a dispatch center instead. The lady on the phone was really nice and patient with me while I explained everything the guy told me. She says “well we don’t do that kind of thing. If you miss a summons, we just issue a warrant. If it was a mail issue, we figure it out once you come down here”. I give her the name of the guy and the number he called from and she’s like “well I don’t see that name or number in here anywhere… let me contact the sheriff’s office and while I do that, try calling the guy to and ask him a bunch of questions to see if he’s legit.” She was pretty sure it was a scam as well.
So the thing is, I’ve heard of these scams before. But they usually tell you that you have a fine and start asking for money. This guy didn’t mention money one time, so it was odd. I call him back and he introduces himself as lieutenant at the sheriff’s office, once again. I start asking him questions like…
“Which court sent me the summons originally? Was it a civil case, a criminal case?”
“What is your badge number?”
“Is there a reason the county didn’t issue a warrant?”
“If I’m logged into the system as a FTA (failure to appear, as he called it), then what is my case number?”
Boom… the guy hangs up on me and I’m dying laughing at the comedic timing. Dude listened to all of my questions and finally was like “Okay this ain’t worth it”. So I call the lady at dispatch back and she says “Yeah, we don’t know that guy and we’ve heard about an uptick in that kind of scam recently.” So that’s that. But what did the guy want? What was he going to do? He gave me the actual address to the sheriff’s office.
I have a couple of theories. When I called in the morning, he might have said something like “Hey I can’t meet in the office, can you meet over here instead?” and sent me somewhere sketchy. Maybe he would have said something like “hey I can’t meet today, sign into this software to sigh it digitally” and then infect my PC. Or something else… he could have wanted me to call so he knew when I was gone from my home. That would be an opportune time for a break in, right? I don’t know, but I don’t really want to know. I just hate the fact that there is nothing you can really do. Even the lady on the phone said these people aren’t breaking the law until they already took something from you. But often they’re out of the country so that’s a no go.
Anyway, just wanted to share that weird story. Stay safe out there everyone!